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Paul Skenes is growing frustrated with his Pirates workload

The No. 1 pick in last summer’s MLB Draft has grown frustrated with his limited workload after finding success in a few games.

On Thursday night, Pirates forward Paul Skeens recorded his fourth straight shutout start to open the 2024 season against the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, his fourth consecutive shutout under pitch count restrictions. He was also a starter.

After the game against the Minnesota Twins affiliate St. Paul Saints, Skens expressed disappointment with how the Pirates were handling his workload.


Paul Skeens pitches during a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles on February 29, 2024 at Ed Smith Stadium. Getty Images

“I wasn’t happy.” Skenes told MLB.com. About being pulled in the fourth inning against the Saints. “But it’s over now. [manager Miguel Perez’s] Head. It’s on top of my head. ”

Skeens threw 34 pitches at over 100 mph, a career-high 65 pitches, and allowed one hit, two walks, and 14 strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings.

The Pirates have played Skeens cautiously since watching him pitch more than 120 innings at LSU in his final college season.

Skeens has now pitched 19 1/3 innings in nine professional games, but the team has not said when he plans to make his major league debut.

He’s not the only one facing restrictions. The Pirates are also keeping an eye on rookie right-hander Jared Jones, who was selected in the second round of the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft out of La Mirada High School in California.

Jones made four starts in the majors, allowing 16 hits, eight earned runs, four home runs, and two walks in 23 innings.

This season, Skeens, the boyfriend of LSU star gymnast Libby Dunn, pitched 12 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and four walks overall.

He also struck out 57.4 percent of the batters he faced.


Paul Skeens prepares to pitch in the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Paul Skeens prepares to pitch in the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

“It went well” Skenes told MLB the first few weeks of the season. “It’s natural to take it slow, even though it can be a little frustrating at times. But it worked out fine.”

Despite the limitations, enough time has passed this season for the Pirates to add another year to Skeens to keep control of the system.

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